Space Cover #296: The First Spacecraft Cachet
Steve Durst (stevedd841) recently discussed the limited edition Project Mercury Space Craft Cachets (SCOTW 291), and the 4-Inch Flight of Mercury-Redstone 1 (SCOTW 285). Another piece of that discussion is the very first Space Craft Cachet (SCC). Shown above is SCC #1x1, the very first SCC, and postmarked at Patrick AFB, for the successful re-try of the 4 inch MR-1 flight on December 19, 1961.
So, how did this first SCC come about? I can't write any better words than Charles Vukotich did in his classic "Space Craft Covers: A Monograph and Catalog":
"In 1960, SCC was born. In October, 1960, Carl Swanson designed a general purpose cachet for the then-upcoming Project Mercury flights. This design was printed on a number of envelopes in a trial run to test the printer. M. L. Nickle, SCC servicer received some of these and used them for two Mercury tests, MR-1a (12-19-60) and Ham (1-31-61). Thus the first SCC were born.
In personal correspondence, Joe Fitzpatrick indicated that "a couple" MR-1a were made and a "couple dozen" Ham. Ted Parge, at the time he was disposing of the Fitzpatrick estate, estimated 25 and 30 respectively. While both these covers are hard to find, the MR-1a has appeared less frequently in the market than Ham. Ham was even advertised for sale by SCC at one time; MR-1a was not."
It should also be noted that this design (with slight modifications) was used by SCC for commemorating the Shepard and Grissom Mercury flights as well.
Since we discussed the "Ham" cover above, here is an image of that one as well (catalogued as SCC 1x2):